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Lalu rally: Super hit

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Patna: Leaders of 18 opposition parties came at one stage on Lalu Prasad’s rally yesterday to decry the “betrayal” by their former ally Nitish Kumar.

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The huge rally at Patna’s historic Gandhi Maidan also introduced Lalu’s son Tejashwi Yadav to national politics.

Holding Lalu in an embrace onstage was Sharad Yadav, who declared, without naming Nitish, that the man who was once his “shadow” would now be punished for breaking the mahagathbandhan in Bihar by a new grand alliance at the Centre.

Also present were West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Ghulam Nabi Azad and C P Joshi of the Congress, D Raja of the CPI, Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), Hemant Soren  and Jayant Choudhary of the RLD.

“Those who oppose can never become irrelevant,” Sonia said. Rahul called for “parties of the same ideology [to] come together”.

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Lalu, who was on stage with his wife Rabri, sons Tejashwi and Tej Pratap, and daughter Misa — all of whom are being probed focussed his attack largely on the Bihar chief minister, and said he and his family would not be cowed down by “false cases”. “How can Nitish escape responsibility when the treasury was being emptied?” Lalu asked.

Tej Pratap blew a conch to announce the war on the BJP and Nitish Kumar, and introduced his brother Tejashwi as the main “astra” (weapon) in the battle. “Does Nitish Kumar have the lungpower to blow a conch?” he asked. “BJP wale bajayenge to unka heart fail ho jayega (If BJP leaders try this, they may suffer a heart attack)”. He would not rest until he had torn the BJP apart, Tej Pratap said.

Tejashwi, now Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, told the rally: “You need to correct the mistakes of 2014… Uncle Nitish had once talked about a Sangh-mukt (RSS-free) India, and he is now back to the business of creating a Sangh-yukt (with RSS) India.”

Despite some 20 districts in Bihar being inundated by floodwaters, Gandhi Maidan, which can hold around 7 lakh people, was almost half full for the “BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao” rally. R


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